Indoor and urban environments have been shown to potentially cause myopia, but the reasons for this are unclear. Researchers, led by Daniel I. Flitcroft, MA, D.Phil (oxon,) MBBS, FRCOphth, of Children’s University Hospital, Dublin, collected and analyzed 191 images that represented a range of environments, from the natural world to mixed and man-made outdoor urban spaces to university dorm rooms.

The results found that urban outdoor and indoor environments have spatial frequency characteristics that are similar to those of slightly defocused or blurred images.

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“Our research shows that the lack of spatial detail in man-made environments is of the same degree as that created by filters that cause myopia to develop in animals’ eyes,” said Flitcroft. “Myopia may be an epidemic of our creation, and this data show how redesigning the visual elements of our environment may help to turn the tide on myopia incidence.”